December 7, 2012

CT scofflaws return $60M to victims, others

Hartford conglomerate United Technologies Corp.'s $18 million fine for illegal export of military hardware to China pushed Uncle Sam's total collections from criminal and civil proceedings and asset seizures to $60 million for fiscal 2012, authorities say.

Connecticut's U.S. Attorney David B. Fein said Friday the money collected includes approximately $9.5 million from criminal actions, approximately $42.2 million collected in civil actions, and more than $8.25 million coming from criminal and civil asset forfeiture actions.

That's nearly triple last year's Connecticut haul, officials said. The highest Connecticut recoveries occurred in fiscal 2000 ($112 million) followed by fiscal 2006 ($106 million), authorities said.

By comparison, the Connecticut federal prosecutor's annual budget is around $20 million.

The largest civil recovery in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, Fein said, occurred last March 2012. That was more than $24 million from settlement of four whistleblower lawsuits alleging various False Claims Act violations by Florida-based WellCare Health Plans Inc., a provider of managed health care services for approximately 2.6 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries nationwide.

One lawsuit was filed in the District of Connecticut and three were filed in the Middle District of Florida. As a result of the settlement, WellCare agreed to pay the federal government and nine states a total of $137.5 million.

Uncle Sam is a generous sort when it comes to sharing collected sums, according to Connecticut U.S. Attorney spokesman Thomas Carson.

The restitution is divided among crime-victims funds, as well as to support federal, state and local law enforcement activity.

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